Feb. 1—In the midst of one of the greatest distance-running careers in state area history, Andover's Tam Gavenas has been honored as one of the best in the entire United State.
The Phillips Academy junior superstar has been honored as the 2023-24 Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Cross Country Player of the Year, it was announced on Friday.
Gavenas becomes the first Big Blue athlete to earn the honor in the 39 years Gatorade has been presenting the award.
"Tam Gavenas' legs were simply magical in the postseason, delivering the best finish by a Massachusetts runner at the Foot Locker Nationals meet in 26 years," said Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack.com in the Gatorade press release. "During the regular season, he broke the old meet record in finishing second at the Manchester Invitational, and his top-10 placing in the Eastern States race of the Manhattan Invitational was further proof he's a rising star."
Gavenas — whose family moved from New York's Hell's Kitchen to Andover so he could enroll and run cross country and track at Phillips Academy as a day student — delivered an absolutely brilliant 2023 cross country season.
At Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals, Gavenas raced to third overall in the championship division 5,000-meter in 15:16.5. He finished only behind a pair of runners from Pennsylvania. He ran a personal record 15:06.7 in the semifinals. That earned him first-team All-American honors.
Before that this past fall, Gavenas placed second in the 5,000 at the NEPSTA (New England Prep School Athletic Council) Championship (15:06), fourth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals (15:07) in the 5,000 and seventh at the Eastern States Championship at the Manhattan Invitational in the 2.5-mile (12:33.8).
"Tam embodies the spirit of the sport of cross country," said Phillips Academy cross country coach Patrick Rielly last fall. "He's a committed teammate, a motivated athlete, and a fearless competitor. He's got a lot of exciting things ahead of him."
Gatorade honors marks the latest honor for Gavenas, who maintains a B-plus average in the classroom.
Gatorade Player of the Year selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.